Paper No. 220-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
LEAD IN DRINKING WATER IN TWO SOUTHWEST OHIO COUNTIES
Lead is a common heavy metal which exists as a natural element originating in small quantities laden throughout the mineralogy of the Earth’s crust. Lead is made useful within a vast variety of industrial-based applications. Lead is infamously toxic to human beings, and the evidence for this is well displayed through scientific data and extensive studies of the element. Lead contamination in water, particularly in drinking water among U.S. communities, is a major concern. This has been the case especially since the Flint, Michigan water crisis began in 2014. Due to the increase in broader awareness of lead contamination, governing entities are monitoring lead levels in drinking water more closely. The already documented effects show the detrimental impact that lead has on human health and particularly on the health of children, of whom have biologically lower tolerance and higher risk of being chronically damaged due to exposure and consumption of lead. This study is an initial scientific analysis of lead in drinking water of low-income residences and alongside those of higher income households. This analysis was conducted from data in both Butler and Hamilton Counties in southwest Ohio using publicly available water quality records. Data for lead, and when available, copper concentrations in drinking water were reviewed with 1587 records for the time period of April 2019 to January 2021 evaluated based on data in Hamilton County. A total of 306 records for the time period of January 2018 to February 2021 have been evaluated based on data in Butler County. For the available data for Hamilton County, lead values vary from below detection to a maximum of 1040 micrograms/L with an average of 14.5376, and a standard deviation for the values of 63.1373. For the available data for Butler County, lead values vary from below detection to a maximum of 5520 micrograms/L with an average of 116.2309 and a standard deviation for the values of 655.6047. We also analyzed certain data collected pertaining to the Greater Cincinnati Water Works Enhanced Lead Program; took stock of the amounts of both public and private water lines that contain levels of lead, along with demographic data of the coinciding geographical areas surrounding the pipes themselves. Some of our main preliminary interpretations are that there are higher lead values in specific area codes and there are lower lead values in other area codes as well, all of which appear to correlate with widespread socioeconomic factors such as income and education.